Why Live Chat Fails Despite Invested Efforts


By leveraging real-time infrastructure, businesses can fuel effective live chat support, foster customer satisfaction and loyalty, and drive long-term success in today’s digital landscape.

Live chat has emerged as the preferred and most efficient method for providing customer support and building customer loyalty. According to recent studies, 41% of customers favor live chat support over phone support, 52% are more likely to repeat purchases, and 79% of businesses report increased customer loyalty and sales.

While proper staff training and a user-friendly interface (avatars, emoji reactions, typing indicators, etc.) are essential to delivering successful live chat experiences, the real work is behind the scenes. If a business lacks a reliable connection, it risks facing numerous problems that can compromise the effectiveness of customer engagement and ultimately damage the brand’s reputation, rendering its live chat efforts almost futile.

In today’s digital age, connectivity poses a significant challenge, with two parties often in remote locations or using mobile connections to establish a direct connection. Factors such as latency, geographical disparities, and technical issues can compound, leading to potential failure points in the customer support plan.

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Foundational Elements for Successful Live Chat

As businesses recognize the potential of live chat, it becomes crucial to understand the importance of real-time infrastructure in supporting this valuable communication channel. Critical success factors must be considered to ensure live chat’s successful implementation and operation.

  • Performance: A real-time infrastructure should maintain low and predictable latencies to provide users with the quality of service they expect. Developers should have specific operating boundaries to design new features while maintaining performance. Implementing low-latency protocols, such as WebSocket, and having a global network of servers geographically close to end users can help achieve optimal performance.
  • Reliability: Live chat systems must deliver messages reliably to users’ devices without experiencing outages that could negatively impact the chat experience. This necessitates a robust, fault-tolerant infrastructure with redundancies and automatic fail-safes to ensure around-the-clock availability. Additionally, client-side logic must be implemented to handle disconnects, changing networks, and other events that regularly impact connectivity. By investing in a reliable real-time infrastructure, businesses can provide uninterrupted chat support to their customers.
  • Scalability: To accommodate increased user demand without downtime, live chat applications must be scalable. An elastic, real-time infrastructure enables the chat system to react to sudden changes and maintain high availability and performance at any scale. Businesses should ensure their real-time infrastructure can handle a growing user base and adapt to fluctuating traffic patterns.
  • Integration: Connecting live chat with third-party services in the organization’s tech stack, such as databases or customer relationship management systems, enhances the customer experience. Agents can access relevant customer information to deliver more personalized interactions. This integration improves operational efficiency and enables agents to provide effective support by accessing comprehensive customer data.
  • Security and compliance: User data security is paramount in live chat. Customers want assurance that their personal information is safe and protected. Implementing robust security measures, including authentication, permissions, and end-to-end encryption, helps prevent unauthorized access and ensures compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2, and others. In addition, providing global customers with the ability to control data stream routing and choose data storage locations is increasingly important, as it helps ensure adherence to regional regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Data integrity: It’s essential to process and deliver messages exactly once and in the correct order to avoid missed or duplicated messages.

See also: Data-Driven Conversation Analytics Key to B2B Digital Sales

How Live Chat Is Supporting Businesses

One prominent example of a company leveraging live chat is HubSpot. Equipping 128,000 businesses with live chat, HubSpot attracts and engages customers while providing comprehensive support for sales, marketing, and customer service efforts. The live chat tool powers more than 500,000 monthly business-critical customer conversations across 120 countries. By offering real-time communication, HubSpot fulfills its promise to help businesses connect with their customers in real time and drive revenue growth.

Bank of America uses live chat with a virtual financial assistant that addresses common inquiries and directs complex issues to specialized agents. This approach enables the bank to handle daily banking requests and concerns. It also proactively empowers its team to engage with customers through targeted messaging, promoting awareness of new products or services that align with their banking preferences. With live chat, Bank of America has successfully assisted over 5 million customers with 75 million requests, while its virtual assistant interacts with customers around 400,000 times daily, reducing the workload on human agents.

In conclusion, adopting live chat as a customer support channel is gaining momentum across industries due to its ability to provide faster support, offer exceptional customer experiences, and drive sales and loyalty. However, reliable and scalable real-time infrastructure is essential to ensure the success of live chat implementation.

As the demand for real-time communication continues to grow, businesses that embrace and optimize their live chat support with such infrastructure will gain a competitive edge. By leveraging real-time infrastructure, businesses can fuel effective live chat support, foster customer satisfaction and loyalty, and drive long-term success in today’s digital landscape.

Matthew O’Riordan

About Matthew O’Riordan

Matthew O’Riordan is CEO and co-founder of Ably, a Realtime Experience Infrastructure provider. He has been a software engineer for over 20 years, many of those as a CTO. He first started working on commercial internet projects in the mid-1990s, when Internet Explorer 3 and Netscape were still battling it out. While he enjoys coding, the challenges he faces as an entrepreneur starting and scaling businesses are what drive him. Matthew has previously started and successfully exited from two tech businesses.

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